On matters of import--Iraq, North Korea, terrorism, etc.--the world is as divided as ever. But on matters trivial, people of all colors, cultures and creeds seem to want the same thing: a brainless but catchy chorus and easy-to-learn dance moves. The Ketchup Song (Hey Hah), written and sung by three Spanish sisters known as Las Ketchup, is the latest bit of happy ephemera bringing the world closer. It has reached No. 1 in 18 countries and is taking off on U.S. radio. You will not hear a dumber song this year, but its easy Andalusian vibe is more contagious than Ebola, and the nontoxic hook is pure joy.
Like its even more egregious older sister Macarena, The Ketchup Song started as a holiday hit. (Europeans travel to Ibiza and return to their soggy homes with a sunny, exotic tune stuck in their heads.) The genius of Ketchup is that its bouncy chorus--"Asereje ja de je de jebe tu de jebere seibunouva/Majavi an de buguni an de buididipi"--means the same thing in Spanish as in English: nothing. The words are a gibberish homage to the opening line of the first rap song, Sugar Hill Gang's 1979 hit Rapper's Delight. America's familiarity with the original incomprehensible lyrics--"I said a hip hop, the hippie the hippie to the hip hip hop, a you don't stop"--have fueled Ketchup's transatlantic voyage, while a simple six-step dance move has given it club life.
The Ketchup Song isn't available for purchase as a single. Columbia wants listeners to pay $18.98 for the bloated Las Ketchup album. Don't fall for it. It's like asking you to buy a burger and fries when all you really want is ketchup. --By Josh Tyrangiel